Buckeye Dairy News : Volume 8 Issue 4

  1. Milk Prices May Firm as the Summer Heats Up and U.S. Milk Production Cools Off

    Dr. Cameron Thraen, Milk Marketing Specialist, The Ohio State University, Additional milk marketing information by Dr. Thraen

    As we enter the second half of the HOT - HOT - HOT 2006 summer, it is time to take stock of where we are milk price-wise and where we are likely to go in the next 12 months. In this column, I will review the trends observed in the cash markets for dairy commodities. If you would like to follow my weekly price projections for the milk and dairy product markets, you can do so by accessing my Ohio Dairy 2006 website at this address: http://aede.osu.edu/programs/ohiodairy/ . Here you will find a wealth of information on the national, regional, and Ohio dairy industries; current cash and futures markets charts and data; and my 24-week forecast for butter, nonfat dry milk (NDM), cheese, whey and milk prices.

    Cheese market

    Over the first 28 weeks of 2006 the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) average cash cheese price has fallen from the just-okay of $1.35's/lb to the not-okay $1.14/lb mark. It appeared that the bottom of this slide passed during the first week of March 2006 when the CME average cheese price hit $1.11/lb. This is a price not seen since May of 2003. After recovering to the $1.24/lb mark during the first week of June, prices have retreated back to support levels. The USDA Dairy Market News reports that cheese markets are unsettled to weak. Commercial demand is slower as buyers wait for yet lower prices. However, with record heat across all of the U.S. dairy production regions, milk production gains will vanish and this will put more upward pressure on cheese prices in the coming weeks. If the heat wave does not let up soon, look for any tightness in the cheese market to be reflected in a rally in the CME cheese price.

    Butter market

    The USDA Dairy Market News reports that butter markets are generally steady with an adequate supply in inventory to supplement a slowing milk production. The CME butter market has declined slowly after peaking only recently during the third week of September at $1.72/lb. The CME cash butter has been trading at or under $1.17/lb since mid February. The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reported butter prices have followed this downward slide and were at $1.129/lb by the first week of July. Commercial demand has responded to lower prices, increasing 17% on an average daily basis, February - April 2006 compared to the same period in 2005. With the hot weather, I am still looking for butter prices to begin to increase and move into the mid $1.20's/lb toward the third quarter of 2006.

    Skim powder and whey markets

    Both the NDM and dry whey markets have fallen over the 28 weeks of 2006. With NDM prices in the West at support, product continues to move steadily to the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). Current CCC NDM inventory, at 66.0 million pounds, is 112% above the same period in 2005. During 2005, the dry whey market moved in lockstep with the rising skim powder market, increasing from a low of $0.24/lb to the current high of $0.35+/lb. Early estimates on world supply and demand suggested that this price may be the high for the coming year with the price retreating back to the $0.30/lb level. This has been realized. Current whey prices reported by NASS are $0.27 to 0.28/lb. The expectation is for the market to continue to trade in this range for the coming months.

    Let's take a look at what is ahead for milk prices

    My forecast is unchanged from the May issue of Buckeye Dairy News. The factor to watch is the duration of the hot humid weather across the United States, which has forced down milk production per cow and significantly slowed the rate of increase in milk production for the U.S.
    {Check this out http://aede.osu.edu/programs/ohiodairy/quickchart/cowsandyield.htm }
    If the oppressive heat continues, particularly in the west and southwest and southeast, this could have a significant impact on prices later in the year. It is too early to call this one, and we will have to wait to see how long the heat wave lasts. Projected Federal Order 33 producer prices for 2006 are shown in Figure 1. With butter and cheese prices staying just above support price levels, the estimate for the 2006 Federal Order 33 mailbox price is the $12.63/cwt. At the low Class III prices, the Milk Income Loss Program will contribute another $0.60 to 0.80/cwt on eligible milk shipments.

    Figure 1. Federal Order 33 Mideast price information: 2000 to 2006 (estimated) {Blend = Federal Order 33 Uniform or Blend Price, PPD = Federal Order 33 Producer Price Differential, MBPrice = Calculated Federal Order 33 Mailbox Price, and Year 1= 2000, 2 = 2001, etc.}. The 2006 prices are generated to be consistent with the CME Class III futures contract prices as of May, 2006. The PPD and the MBPrice for 2006 are estimates based on the average CME Class III futures price for 2006 and historical price averages for Federal Order 33.

  2. Effects of Overstocking on Cow Behavior, Welfare, and Productivity

    Dr. Naomi Botheras, Animal Welfare Program Specialist, The Ohio State University 

    Due to costs associated with the construction and maintenance of free stall barns, dairy farmers may limit the number of feeding and/or resting places available for cows to maximize utilization of facilities. Facility design, such as whether there are two or three rows of stalls per feeding line, may also influence the number of cows which have to share a particular resource. However, the impact of overcrowding on cow behavior, welfare, and productivity should be considered. At pasture, dairy cows tend to synchronize their grazing and lying behavior. That is, most cows will eat or lay down at the same time. Indoors, such synchronization may be less pronounced, but is often still evident and may be strongly influenced by management procedures, such as the delivery of fresh feed and milking. The synchronization of dairy cattle behavior, along with a limited number of feeding and/or lying places, means that not all cows will be able to eat or lay down at once.

    Overcrowding free stalls

    Studies which have investigated the effects on cow behavior of a limited number of free stalls found that the total lying time of cattle over a 24-h period was reduced due to overcrowding (Friend et al., 1977; Wierenga and Hopster, 1990; Leonard et al., 1996; Dippel et al., 2005). Even at relatively low overstocking rates (25% overcrowding, or 1.25 cows per free stall), Wierenga and Hopster (1990) found reductions in the total daily lying times of some cows. At low overstocking rates, the lying times of only low-ranking cows seem to be affected, while at higher overcrowding rates, the lying times of all cows are affected. Under conditions of one stall per cow, very often 90% or more of the cows are in the stalls during the night, and very few cows stand inactive in the alleys at any time throughout the day. However, time spent standing inactive in the alleys is significantly higher in overcrowded conditions, and this is particularly evident during the night. Furthermore, overcrowding may lead to cows (particularly low ranking cows) lying in the alleys at night when all stalls are occupied, but cows are highly motivated to lay down (Wierenga and Hopster, 1990; Leonard et al., 1996). This aberrant behavior has obvious implications for cow cleanliness and the risk of mastitis.

    Reduced daily lying times (Colam-Ainsworth et al., 1989; Leonard et al., 1994, 1996; Chaplin et al., 2000) and increased time standing on hard surfaces (Greenough and Vermunt, 1991; Singh et al., 1993) are behaviors that have been associated with increased rates of hoof lesions and lameness. Hence, a reduction in lying time (and consequently increased time spent standing in the alleys) due to overcrowding may increase the risk of lameness, with obvious implications for cow welfare and productivity. Furthermore, adequate rest is necessary to ensure high production, and blood flow to the udder is increased when cows are lying down. Cows also tend to ruminate (chew their cud) when lying down compared to when standing up, so maximizing lying time is also important for optimizing rumination time. Disturbed rest leads to physiological changes in cattle that are usually indicative of stress and which are likely to affect cow health and milk production. Therefore, to maintain high levels of production, health, and welfare, it is essential that dairy cows are able to optimize their time spent resting.

    Overcrowding the feeding area

    Friend et al. (1977) found that time spent eating was not reduced until only 0.1 m of feeding space per cow was provided (space allowance ranged from 0.5 m to 0.1 m per cow), and Collis et al. (1980) found total feeding time did not change when feeding space was gradually reduced from 1.05 m to 0.15 m per cow. Similarly, Wierenga and Hopster (1990) found that overcrowding the number of feeding places by 25 to 55% had almost no consequences on eating time. It was suggested that the limited effect of overcrowding on total eating time may be due to the relatively short amount of time that cows spend eating each day (around 4 hours), which would enable a cow to easily compensate for changes in the opportunity to eat that occur due to overcrowding.

    However, in contrast to findings from earlier studies, more recent research by DeVries et al. (2004) found that when cows had access to more feeding space (1.0 m vs. 0.5 m of feeding space per cow), cows increased their feeding activity throughout the day and especially during the 90 min after fresh feed was provided. At 30% overcrowding of headlocks (1.3 cows per headlock), Batchelder (2000) found reduced daily dry matter intakes and substantially fewer cows eating during both the hour following milking and following delivery of fresh feed. Interestingly, Batchelder (2000) also found that overcrowded cows spent significantly less time ruminating during a 24-h period than did cows that were not overcrowded. Huzzey et al. (2006) found that for both post-and-rail and headlock feed barriers, overcrowding resulted in reduced feeding times and increased time spent standing inactive in the feeding area. These changes were most obvious during the times of peak feeding activity (within 60 min following the delivery of fresh feed). Mentink and Cook (2006) compared free stall pens with 2 or 3 rows of stalls per pen, which provide for very different amounts of feed space per cow when free stalls are stocked at similar rates. These authors found that the extra feed space per cow in a 2-row pen improved access to feed at peak feeding times.

    All cows are motivated to access feed when fresh feed is delivered, but when feeding space is inadequate, some cows may be prevented from feeding at the time of fresh feed delivery, and consequently, may be forced to shift their feeding time. Research has indicated that cows will sort a TMR, and hence feed quality declines throughout the day. Thus, cows that are forced to delay their feeding time due to overcrowding may consume a poorer quality diet. Furthermore, when cows do not have access to feed when they want to eat, they may over-eat following a period of feed deprivation. This could happen when cows have limited access to feed because of overstocking. Increased feeding competition may reduce intake and increase feeding rate, possibly increasing the risk for metabolic problems, such as left displaced abomasums and subacute ruminal acidosis (Shaver, 1997, 2002). Increased aggression in the feeding area when cows are overcrowded has also been noted (Olofsson, 1999; DeVries et al., 2004; Huzzey et al., 2006). Aggression could have consequences for hoof lesion development and lameness. Shaver (2002) also suggested that the potential for laminitis may be greater when overcrowding of free stalls coincides with limited feeding space (as is often the case), because cows may spend more time standing on concrete rather than lying in stalls, and consume fewer, but larger, meals, or have reduced feed intake.

    It is important to realize that even when free stalls are not overstocked, social and environmental factors may still reduce the number of available or preferred resting places. For example, stalls in some locations may not be used due to close proximity to a water trough or high volume of cow traffic, or because they are located in a draft. Low-ranking cows will also prefer not to use a stall adjacent to a higher-ranking cow, and a cow lying in a stall may occupy part of a neighboring stall with their legs, head, or back, which would prevent another cow from lying down in the vacant stall. Thus, the implications of overstocking resting and/or feeding areas for cow behavior, health, production, and welfare should be carefully considered.

    *A complete list of research references is available on request.

  3. Minimizing Heat Stress in the Dairy Facility

    Dr. Mike Brugger, Extension Livestock Housing Specialist, The Ohio State University

    As I right this article, it is 92 ºF and 42% relative humidity and a light breeze in Wooster. Thanks to the air conditioning in my office, I am comfortable and can be productive. Are you providing an environment in your dairy barn so that the cows can be productive? While it is not economical to air condition your free stall barn, there are some things you can do to reduce heat stress. Here are some points to help you evaluate your facility and plan for improvements as needed.

    The combination of soaking and blowing air across the cow gives the maximum cooling. Use a spray nozzle that will quickly wet the cow and not one that provides a fine mist. If you have a system installed, be sure that it is working properly. Clean fans provide the most airflow for the cost of operation. Keep them clean. The spray nozzles should provide about 0.33 gallons per cow per wetting cycle. The on time for a cycle will depend on the nozzle flow rate and spacing. A properly sized nozzle may not be getting the desired wetting effect if the water supply line limits the flow.

    In adding cooling, the first place to look is the holding pen. Here the cows are crowed together and the natural airflow can be limited by other buildings. Fans blowing down on the cows will reduce the heat stress. Provide one 36-inch diameter fan for each 150 sq ft or one 48-inch diameter fan for each 300 sq ft of holding area. Place the first row of fans right outside the holding area for blowing toward the back of the holding area. Add another row of fans every 20 to 24 ft for 36-inch diameter fans and 30 to 36 ft for 48-inch fans. Mount fans as low as possible without interfering with equipment. Use a thermostat to turn the fans on when the holding pen temperature reaches 72ºF.

    A soaker system for the holding area should supply about 1 gallon per 150 sq ft of holding area. The soaker should have an on-off cycle of 1 minute on and 5 minutes off. Turn the soakers on when the temperature reaches 72 ºF.

    In the free stall barn, a combination of fans and soaker system at the feed line and fans over the free stalls is the best approach. Use the same fan spacing recommendation as for the holding area. Adding soaker nozzles to wet the cows will improve the cooling affect. A recommended flow of 0.33 gallons per cow per cycle will produce the desired effect. The one time per cycle will depend on the nozzle size and spacing and will generally be one to two minutes. Increase the soaking frequency with temperature according to the chart below:

    • 70 - 80 ºF; every 15 minutes,
    • 81 - 90 ºF; every 10 minutes, and
    • > 90 ºF; every 5 minutes.

    Size the water line to the nozzles based on the number of nozzles and flow per nozzle. For example, a 1.5-inch diameter pipe can supply 60 nozzles that supply 0.5 gpm but only 30 nozzles that supply 1 gpm. If the nozzles are spaced 8 ft center to center, the allowable length is 480 ft with the 0.5 gpm nozzles and 240 ft for the 1 gpm nozzles. A 2-inch diameter line can handle 50 nozzles at 8 ft spacing for a total length of 400 ft. These examples are based on limiting the maximum flow velocity in the pipe to 5 ft per second.

  4. Heat and Colostrum, Friend and Foe

    Mrs. Dianne Shoemaker, Extension Dairy Specialist, OSU Extension Center at Wooster 

    Hot environmental temperatures, combined with high humidity, can negatively impact colostrum production in first calf heifers. Conversely, heat treatment of colostrum can have more than one benefit according to data presented at the 2006 American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) Annual Meetings.

    Generous colostrum feeding guidelines ensure that most calves will receive sufficient immunoglobulins (IgG; antibodies) to achieve a successful transfer of immunity. Success depends on the individual calf's ability to absorb IgG and the calf being fed enough IgG. We know that the calf's ability to absorb antibodies is negatively effected by the time that has elapsed since birth and the relative difficulty of the birth process. While absorption rates can approach 50% shortly after birth, they decline rapidly towards zero within the first 24 hours.

    Environmental heat

    Heat stress of first calf heifers is likely to cause a drop in IgG concentrations in their first milking. An Italian study using 12 Holstein heifers kept in environmentally controlled rooms reported a 19% decrease in IgG production from the heifers exposed to higher temperatures (89°F daytime and 79°F nighttime) compared to the control heifers (65°F, all heifers experienced 72% relative humidity.) Heifers were exposed to these environments for approximately 3 weeks before calving.

    Is this happening with your heifers? The only way to know for sure is to measure the IgG concentrations in each dam's colostrum before feeding it to the calf. In the Italian study, yield (volume) of colostrum did not differ between heifers subjected to heat stress and the control heifers. Evaluating quality of colostrum based on volume produced will be useless. Simple on-farm methods of quality evaluation include using either a colostrometer or commercial "quick tests". These tools are readily available from farm supply catalogs or stores.

    Heat treatment

    Pasteurization of colostrum is generating increased interest as herds seek additional tools to control the transfer of disease pathogens, such as Johne's bacteria, through colostrum.
    Godden at the University of Minnesota reported new data at this year's ADSA meeting from a study on the impact of pasteurizing colostrum on the apparent efficiency of IgG absorption.

    Early attempts at pasteurization of colostrum were frustrating as the HTST (high temp, short time) pasteurization methods created a pudding like mass that plugged up the equipment and was impossible to feed. Longer time, lower temp methods are more successful, although some thickening can also occur.

    Two important questions are: "Will the heat treatment harm the IgG?" and "Will pasteurization impede a successful transfer of immunity?" To help answer these questions, batches of colostrum were divided in half. Using a 60 min, 140oF pasteurization method, one half of the batch was pasteurized and one half of each batch was not. Pairs of calves were fed either the pasteurized or the fresh colostrum.

    All fifty calves achieved a successful passive transfer of immunity. However, calves fed the pasteurized colostrum achieved significantly higher blood IgG concentrations than the calves fed fresh colostrum (22.3 mg/ml for pasteurized and 17.5 mg/ml for fresh). After calves were tested for blood IgG levels, the apparent efficiency of absorptions were calculated. Calves fed the fresh colostrum averaged 27% apparent absorption, while calves fed pasteurized colostrum averaged 35%.

    Bottom line, the higher the efficiency of absorption, the better chance a calf has to achieve a successful transfer of passive immunity. Based on this study, the pasteurization process not only did not reduce the IgG concentration in colostrum, but the bacteria "kill" of the pasteurization appeared to allow more IgG to be absorbed compared to unpasteurized colostrum.

    It has been demonstrated that bacteria that get into the calf's gut before colostrum is fed can interfere with IgG absorption. This study provided a strong indicator that bacteria may interfere with IgG absorption when they are fed with the colostrum as well. Dairy farms must have protocols and practices in place to ensure that colostrum is harvested and handled as cleanly as possible.

    *A list of research references is available on request.

  5. Don't Forget Quality Assurance While Preparing for Summer Fairs and Shows

    Ms. Laurie Winkelman, Dairy Program Specialist, The Ohio State University

    With the summer show season in full swing, youth throughout Ohio are washing, clipping, training, and showing dairy projects at many shows and county fairs. With sights set on the prized blue ribbon, youth diligently work in the moments right before the show blowing up toplines and fluffing tails. Besides those last minute details that give the finishing touch, exhibitors and youth must also keep quality assurance in mind, not only at the show, but during the entire project year.

    Before the show

    Success with dairy project animals and quality assurance starts long before the animal ever steps foot in the show ring. Proper care, nutrition, housing, and management of dairy project animals early in the year and throughout the spring and summer will all add to the success of the project. Though this article is a little late in the year to fully address proper care and management of project animals, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when working with dairy projects animals at home.

    1. Provide clean, fresh water for your animals. Water is the most important nutrient for dairy cattle. Also, water is very important during hot weather to keep animals hydrated and prevent heat stress. Heat stressed animals do not perform to their best.

    2. Ensure proper feeding and nutrition. Heifers easily gain weight and become 'too fat' for dairy shows, so youth and exhibitors must carefully monitor the nutrition program to keep animals at the desired condition. It is never acceptable to completely restrict feed from heifers or cows to make them lose weight.

    3. Provide dry and clean bedding. Clean bedding not only keeps the animal healthier and cleaner, but also reduces the amount of scrubbing and washing the exhibitor needs to do!

    4. Stay up to speed on health needs. Work with your veterinarian to ensure that vaccinations are up to date and health requirements are met. Many state and national shows have specific health tests that each animal must pass. Check the entry book for each show to make sure that the cattle will meet the health requirements. If antibiotics are given to an animal, be sure to carefully follow the instructions on the label.

    At the show

    All of the guidelines discussed above apply to care for animals at the fair, too. However, preparing for show day also brings more guidelines to attention. Though all exhibitors want their animals to look their best on show day, quality assurance must be kept in mind at all times.

    Showing a milking animal presents some unique considerations for quality assurance. Taking cows to new places often affects their milk production and general contentment. Try not to disrupt the normal routine for the cow, and keep milking times as close to the regular herd schedule as possible. Always be sure to practice proper milking routines at the fair. Milking parlors at almost all fairs and shows are community parlors, with many cows from many different farms using them. Therefore, it is important to properly dip and disinfect teats and milking units to prevent the spread of mastitis organisms.

    To make cows look their best, many exhibitors 'bag' their cows to make sure the udders are full of milk at show time. Overbagging can cause discomfort for the cow, increases the risk of mastitis, and displays a poor image for the public and the consumer. While cows can tolerate a little more than 12 hours of milk in their udders, it is best to avoid extremes when preparing your cow for the show and have no more than 18 hours of milk in a cow's udder.

    Despite an exhibitor's best efforts to prevent sickness or health problems, it is not uncommon for heifers or cows to become ill at a show. If an animal becomes sick, have a veterinarian check the animal. If the veterinarian prescribes any medications, be sure to follow the instructions on the label, paying close attention to milk or meat withhold times.

    More than just cow care

    Above and beyond basic animal care at the show, exhibitors should also do their best to maintain a positive image for the dairy industry. For many people, a fair or show is the only place they see dairy cattle. Therefore, your display, actions, and animal care heavily influence the thoughts of those people. To keep a positive image for the dairy industry, follow these guidelines:

    1. Keep the animals neat and clean. Picking up manure, having adequate bedding, sweeping aisles, and making sure the animals are fed and watered are essential to maintain positive perceptions about the dairy industry. Strive to keep the animals clean at all times.

    2. Be courteous and well-behaved. It is important for exhibitors to dress appropriately when working with your animals at the fair. Avoid clothing with rips, holes, and tears. Also, if fair-goers have questions about the animals or the dairy industry, be sure to politely answer their questions. Excessive horseplay is strongly discouraged because it not only may scare the animals, but also does not put forth a good view for the public.

    3. Have an educational exhibit. Sometimes a county or state fair is the only place people come into contact with dairy animals and learn about them. Educational displays are great tools to educate the general public. The display does not have to be elaborate and should be kept simple and clear. Besides the educational display, be sure to have a sign for each animal in your exhibit that gives the vital information about the animal, such as name, birthdate, sire, dam, and production records.

    Ask yourself one question

    Quality assurance in youth projects is a broad topic that extends beyond the show-ring. Defining what is right or wrong in dealing with project animals can sometimes be difficult. As you show your animals this summer, you can ask yourself one question to make sure you have the best interest of the public AND animal in mind. Ask yourself "Would the consumer of this product be upset if they knew about what I was doing?" If you say 'yes' to that question, you should find another way to manage or work with your animal. Consumer acceptance and production of high quality products should be the number one priority, regardless of whether you are taking care of 3 animals at a show or 300 cows in a herd at home.

    After the show

    Even after the show is over and the cattle return home, exhibitors still must keep quality assurance and animal health in mind. Cattle exhibited at fairs and shows come into contact with many animals from many different places and disease backgrounds. Though the cattle may not have signs or symptoms of a disease or problem after a fair, they could carry it home and risk infecting other animals in the herd. To prevent the potential spread of disease to the cows and heifers that stayed at home, it is a good idea to keep the show animals in a separate area for 3 weeks after they return home from the show. While this is not always easy to accomplish, exhibitors should strive to protect the health of all their animals.

  6. Management of Dry Cows to Promote Udder Health

    Dr. William B. Epperson, Extension Dairy Veterinarian, The Ohio State University 

    Mastitis is generally regarded as the most costly infectious disease on dairy farms. For most farms, the main bacteria causing mastitis have shifted to the environmental bacteria (coliforms and environmental streptococci), which are transferred to teat ends at times other than milking.

    The dry period is an important time for the establishment of environmental intramammary infection (IMI). Of environmental streptococci IMI present in lactation, 50.5% originated in the non-lactating period (Todhunter et al., 1995). Similarly, 61.2% of clinical coliform mastitis cases observed in lactation were due to organisms that originated with infection in the dry period (Todhunter et al., 1991). Together, these facts emphasize the relative importance of the dry period on mammary gland health.

    Within the traditional 8 week dry period, the first 2 weeks and the last 2 weeks have been shown to be high risk times for new IMI (Smith et al., 1985). These times are the transitions into and out of involution, and are accompanied by high volumes of milk/colostrum in the gland. Therefore, preventive strategies that impact either or both of these high risk times are likely to be beneficial.

    Numerous field studies have related high environmental bacterial loads to increased mastitis. Providing a clean, comfortable dry cow environment will decrease teat end exposure to pathogens. Inorganic bedding materials support lower bacterial loads, improving hygiene and leading to improved udder health. Cracked skin on teat ends, as commonly seen with hyperkeratotic teat ends (often termed "teat rings", "prolapsed sphincters" or the like) has been shown to increase risk of IMI in the dry period, probably by promoting bacterial colonization (Dingwell et al., 1994).

    Teat canal plug formation following dry off is an important event in limiting movement of bacteria into the mammary gland. Due to intramammary pressure immediately after dry off, the teat canal is forced to dilate. Epithelial cells accumulate and fill the canal, causing constriction over 1 to 2 weeks (Dingwell et al., 2003). If these cells are not removed, the canal eventually seals closed. Teat canals that remain open in the dry period are almost twice as likely to acquire a new IMI. A recent study indicated that about 50% of teat canals close in the first week. However, by the 6th week, only 77% were closed, suggesting a considerable fraction of quarters remained open in the dry period.

    Factors which impact teat canal closure are not known, but presumable include milk yield, teat shape and anatomy, and trauma. Recent work has indicated that milk production of > 46 lb/day the day prior to dry off was associated with a delay in teat canal closure. A preliminary report from Ohio indicted that with each 11 lb/day increase in milk production above 27.5 lb on the day prior to dry off, IMI at calving increased 77% (Rajala-Schltz et al., 2005). Future udder health programs may include specific recommendations for managed decrease of milk production immediately prior to dry off in an effort to improve teat canal closure and limit dry period IMI.

    Teat canal sealing products were devised to lessen the impact of delayed teat canal closure. Administration of the internal teat sealant (Orbeseal®, Pfizer Animal Health) has been shown to decrease new IMI at calving by approximately 30% (Godden et al., 2003). In addition, reductions of clinical mastitis and early lactation somatic cell counts have been observed in some studies. External teat sealers are specially formulated teat dips intended to produce a film barrier on the teat skin. No work with these products has been reported in scientific journals. While the internal teat sealer has been shown effective and is broadly recommended (concurrent with dry cow therapy), external teat sealers have not undergone the same study and scrutiny, and therefore, are not universally recommended at this time.

    Optimal nutrition promotes host defense and contributes to the overall well-being of the cow and the mammary gland. The benefit of adequate levels of vitamin E (1000 mg/head/day in diet) and selenium (minimum of 0.3 ppm in diet) in mammary health are well known (Hogan et al., 1993). Dry and transition cows with energy imbalance will often express ketosis shortly after calving. Cows with ketosis within 1 week after calving have an increased risk of clinical mastitis in the period from calving to 63 days in milk (Leslie et al., 2001). Cows with postpartum metritis show a tendency for increased susceptibility to subsequent IMI (Epperson et al., 1993). As each of these conditions (mastitis, ketosis, and metritis) is associated with decreased white blood cell function, the occurrence of one disease identifies those cows at risk of other diseases.

    Antibiotic therapy of all quarters of all cows at dry off (total dry cow therapy; DCT) has been a longstanding recommendation for US dairy producers. This is based on the following facts:

    1) DCT will help eliminate a high proportion of existing IMI caused by Streptococcus agalactiae, C. bovis, and coagulase negative staphylococci (Dingwell et al., 2003),
    2) DCT enhances the cure rate of Staphylococcus aureus (Dingwell et al., 2003),
    3) Available evidence indicates that DCT will prevent new environmental streptococcal IMI from establishing in the early dry period (Smith et al., 1985), and
    4) There is no substantial evidence to indicate that antimicrobial resistance in mastitis pathogens is emerging in a widespread manner as a consequence of DCT (National Mastitis Council, 2004).

    Present day DCT products are active principally in the first weeks of the dry period. Antimicrobial activity declines to negligible levels by the final 2 weeks of the dry period. The cost:benefit of DCT continues to be re-evaluated, and new products/techniques may offer alternatives to DCT. However, until that time, total DCT is recommended.

    *A complete list of research references is available on request.

  7. Homeland Security Steps Up Interior Immigration Enforcement

    Mr. John Wargowsky, Executive Director - Mid American Ag and Hort Services

    Mid American Ag and Hort Services (MAAHS) is highlighting recent announcements and actions by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS unveiled a comprehensive immigration enforcement strategy for the nation's interior on April 20. It includes worksite enforcement designed to: 1) punish knowing and reckless employers of illegal aliens, 2) eliminate Social Security abuses that support illegal immigration, and 3) work with Congress to build an employer compliance system. The complete news release is available at www.midamservices.org under "What's New."

    Also on April 20, DHS announced that its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigative unit arrested seven managers of a nationwide pallet company and 1,187 of the firm's illegal aliens in 26 states. Roughly 53% of the firm's employees during 2005 had invalid / mismatched Social Security numbers. This complete release is also found at www.midamservices.org under "What's New."

    The MAAHS has received a number of calls from members concerned over this issue. As a result, MAAHS has compiled a set of links to MAAHS and governmental published guidance to assist employers in complying with employment eligibility verification, Social Security "no match" letter handling and more. The link to this page may be found under Immigration and is only accessible to paid MAAHS members who have requested members' only access.

    The interior investigative and enforcement (ICE) agency within DHS is responsible for ensuring the departure of illegal aliens from the United States through fair enforcement of the nation's immigration laws. There are three ways that ICE may contact you:

    An I-9 audit. This is the most common way for an investigation to begin. If you are advised that ICE wishes to audit your records, you should ask for 3 days to prepare for the audit. It is advisable to contact a qualified attorney to assist you with this preparation.

    Arrest warrant. An agent may have a warrant to arrest a person who is in the U.S. illegally and has committed a felony. In this case, you should discreetly cooperate with the agent with as little fanfare as possible. If ICE believes the person is armed and dangerous, he/she may enter your property without seeking permission or even notifying you.

    Search warrant. The ICE or another federal or state agency may obtain an administrative search warrant based on probable cause of illegal activity. You should obtain a business card and a copy of the warrant, read the warrant, and allow the agency or person specified in the warrant to conduct the actions specified. Do not allow agents from other agencies to enter the property, unless they have their own warrant. Get the business card of every person who enters your property. As soon as you have read the warrant, contact your attorney.

    What should you tell your workers?

    Workers must be instructed that they should not run, that the safest place for them is at work, and that they may not grant permission for any government agent to enter your property. Crew leaders and workers should be prepared to give the name and phone number of the person or persons you have designated to work with state or federal agents who seek access to your property.

    The ICE agents may question any individual, and they have discretion to detain a person they encounter in a public place if the person he/she encounters lacks the legal right to be here, regardless of whether such person is the suspect being sought in connection with criminal activity. On the other hand, if workers remain within the confines of a private building or business, ICE may only detain the individual specified in an arrest warrant. Workers should always carry valid identification and should be prepared to identify themselves to any law enforcement official.

    Workplace procedures

    Develop a clear company policy regarding who can grant access to your property and post signs directing visitors to report to the office. If you are confronted with an agent seeking access to your business, try to find out the purpose of the visit, obtain a business card, and determine which of the 3 circumstances from above (audit, arrest warrant, or search warrant) applies.

    If you discover an agent on your property, identify the agent, politely ascertain his/her business, and ask to see any warrant. If the agent does not produce a warrant, inform him/her that you have not granted permission to enter, invite him/her to make an appointment, and ask him/her to leave. Contact your attorney or county sheriff to report the incident.

    The MAAHS is a unique non-profit consortium of associations, organizations, and employers organized to create widespread human resource management strengths in Mid American agricultural and horticultural businesses. One of the methods is to serve as a resource for a wide array of human resource issues through newsletters, manuals, a web site, phone consultation and workshops. Contact MAAHS at 614-246-8286, labor@ofbf.org, or www.midamservices.org to become an employer member. You may subscribe to MAAHS' free e-newsletter by visiting www.midamservices.org and clicking the "Join Our FREE Email List" button.

  8. American Dairy Association and Dairy Council Mid East (materials available)

    Ms. Kim Haines, Communications Manager, ADADC Mid East

    The American Dairy Association & Dairy Council (ADADC) Mid East is the local dairy farmer-funded promotion organization responsible for increasing demand for milk and dairy products. We work closely with Dairy Management, Inc., the national dairy promotion organization, to implement advertising, promotion, education, and research programs nationwide.

    The ADADC Mid East recognizes that dairy farmers have a strong voice within their communities and are pleased to provide materials to assist with local dairy and agricultural promotions. Some of these materials include pencils, key chains, bumper stickers, posters, and brochures.
    Materials are free to dairy farmers, princesses, and processors within the ADADC Mid East territory. Materials are also available at no charge to agriculture Extension educators and agriculture-related organizations who are conducting dairy or agriculture promotions. To order these items, please visit www.drink-milk.com or call 1-800-292-MILK.

  9. Awards to Animal Sciences Personnel During the Annual Meeting of the American Dairy Science Association

    Dr. Maurice Eastridge, Extension Dairy Specialist, The Ohio State University

    The Annual Meeting of the American Dairy Science Association was held July 9-13 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Awards received by OSU personnel included: 1) Dr. Normand St-Pierre was awarded the Merial Dairy Management Research Award, 2) Dr. Bill Weiss was awarded the Pioneer Hi-Bred Forage Award, 3) Alejandro Relling (conducted his research under the direction of Dr. Chris Reynolds) was awarded the first place recognition by the Land O'Lakes, Purina Feed LLC for the Graduate Student Poster Contest in Dairy Production, 4) Laurie Winkelman (conducted her research under the direction of Dr. Chris Reynolds) was awarded the first place recognition for outstanding Graduate Student Presentation in Dairy Production by the National Milk Producers Federation, 5) Laurie was also awarded the second place recognition for the Graduate Student Poster Contest in Dairy Production, and 6) Amanda Todd (conducted her research under the direction of Dr. Maurice Eastridge) was recognized for third place in the ADSA undergraduate student paper competition (original research category).